Well its the first of may which means that we are now only a couple of weeks out from another Labor Budget and the softening up propaganda is in full swing, what with Gillard’s announcement the other day that Labor has a 12 billion dollar black hole that we the ever suffering tax payers will have to endure a rise in the Medicare levy to fund “Disability care” (NDIS renamed 🙄 ) we can expect a never ending barrage of tales of woe to prepare us for a budget that will not be anywhere near as bad as expected for a couple of simple reasons.
Firstly its an election year and that means that the budget will be designed to fit in with Labor pitch to the voters for another term in power so they won’t be keen to get too many people off side by doing much that will be unpopular, they simply don’t have the skill or the time to argue for unpopular changes or truly new schemes so what they will be doing is trying to find way that their keynote “reforms” can have the illusion of being possible even though much of their new schemes have thus far been very poorly designed and even more poorly explained or justified Nothing illustrates this more than the “Gonski” scheme which has been eulogised by endless teacher’s union funded ads on the TV but we still have very little idea of just what it will mean for schools and even less confidence that finding out the details of the scheme will matter because apart from Barry O Farrell proving the adage about State Premiers grabbing for pots of money at least partially correct, none of the other states committed themselves to Gillard’s so called “education reforms” which will mean its failure.
Then there is the way to fund the ” Disability care” scheme, to be honest having it paid for by a rise in the Medicare levy is at least somewhat consistent with the original notion of that tax and I don’t expect that the current opposition will roll back such a change when they get into the treasury benches either. I do however have some issue with this new scheme being rolled out at the same time as the Government (and to a lesser extent the opposition are trying to imply that those of the disabled who have qualified for the DSP are all slackers or frauds. If we are honest we have to realise that the disabled as a group covers a rather wide spectrum of people with an equally wide range of impairment the question that we as a society have to consider is where we draw the line. Likewise its fine to have a principle of encouraging all of the disabled who can do some work to do so but firstly there has to be some work that they can do available for them and employers who are willing to take on the burden. Both are rather thin on the ground yet this government seems very intent upon forcing the disabled to enter the same job seeker churn that it imposes upon receipts of the Newstart allowance. Its fair enough for the able bodied but all the churn will do for the disabled is make them depressed and further lower their self esteem as they struggle over ever more odious bureaucratic hurdles. This farce is only really possible though because of the way that the public perceives disability. To most people a disabled person has to be either holding a white cane or in a wheel chair or they are not even seen as being disabled. However there are many conditions, MS for example, which have very few outward indicators of infirmity even though they would make meaningful (to themselves and an employer) work difficult if not impossible . The repeated implication that many people who qualify as disabled are in one sense or another “scamming the system” does not help matters either because for every fraudster who is caught there are many, many genuine claimants who have to constantly live with the suspicion or even outright accusation that they are “bunging it on”. Its not a good look for a government who are pinning their election campaign on the hopefully positive reception to its NDIS now is it?
If this government was genuine about fixing the 12billion “black hole” then they would do a couple of simple things: Abolish the carbon tax, its associated bureaucracy and its compensation, likewise they should abolish the MRRT mining tax and the pork distribution that is predicated upon that failed tax, If they then actually fixed the asylum seeker issue by restoring the full suite of measures that worked under Howard regime more billions could be saved… Oh, hang on, that prescription sounds awfully like the opposition plan so maybe that is the answer after-all. We need to change the government rather than hoping that this administration can be reformed enough for it to properly serve the nation, really there is no other choice.